Wii

North America

Madden NFL 07

by Mike Gamin - December 29, 2006, 9:50 am PST
Total comments: 7

7

Throw a stiff arm in your opponent's face... literally!

Madden 07 for Wii has a novel enough control scheme that it even succeeded in turning the heads of some of the biggest haters of the series. That's exactly what happened to me when I played the game back in September. After playing through much of the final game one thing is clear: it is still an incredibly deep and complicated football game.

The primary and most exciting difference between this and every previous Madden game is the use of the gesture based controls that Wii makes possible. Many different aspects of the game are performed using motions instead of buttons. Snapping, passing, stiff arms, power tackles, and strip attempts are just some of the many examples. The vast majority of these motions really add to the immediate fun of the game, but not without some consequences. As satisfying as it is to thrust your arm out in front of you and have the player on screen throw an awesome stiff arm in the face of the defender, there will be times when nothing actually occurs on screen. This lack of precision stands in the face of what the Madden series has become over the years for competitive players.

Another new addition to the series that really falls in line with many of the other Wii launch window titles is the inclusion of some multiplayer mini-games. They allow up to four players to break away from the complexity and structure of the main game. Reminiscent of backyard football games, one mode is a game of two-on-two football where the defense has to count Mississippis before rushing the quarterback. This can be a lot of fun for both two and four players. In two player mode each player takes on the role of the quarterback when on offense and the defensive back when on defense. The D-pad on the remote can be used to order the computer controlled receiver around. When the receiver is open, throw the ball and hope your opponent doesn't pick it off. In four player mode every position is controlled by one of the players. Every four downs (regardless of first downs or touchdowns) the possession changes. This means it's possible to score up to four touchdowns in a row before the other team even gets the ball. Scores often reach the 100-point mark.

In another mini-game, four players alternate between playing the quarterback set up in a three receiver offensive set. The other three players take on the role of the defensive backs in a man-to-man coverage. The quarterback's job is to complete passes. Points are scored based on how many yards the receiver runs for after a catch. Defensive backs can gain bonus points by intercepting the ball, swatting passes, or causing incompletions with hard tackles; blown coverages result in point penalties. I had the most fun with the game in this mode. Defensive backs can decide to risk a blown coverage and go for a sack at any time. A successful blitz results in a huge point bonus, but if the quarterback recognizes it and completes a pass, it can not only cost the defensive player some blown coverage points but also leave the receiver wide open, possibly allowing a huge score for the quarterback.

All of the other Madden features are there. Franchise mode is so deep you even set the ticket prices for your stadium. Casual football fans will surely be confused by the number of features involved. It takes quite a bit of work wading through the options, practicing in training camp, and playing preseason games before you can actually start the season. Surely football fanatics will eat it up, but a less complex single season mode would have been nice for everyone else.

Technical issues will constantly remind players that it is a launch game. Data and profile management is a complete mess. It's possible that Madden uses an old memory card-based system rigged to work with the Wii, but it takes some effort to figure out what portion of the game you are saving at what time. The game is not free of lock-ups, either. There will be a few occasions where completely shutting down the system is required to get the game running again. Menu load times make the pointer based navigation frustrating as well. If hovering over a menu option involves significantly changing what is displayed on screen, the action will freeze for a second while everything is loaded. Once loaded, if the pointer is no longer on that option the halt-and-load sequence will start all over. This frustration will make many people forgo the pointer navigation for the more traditional analog stick.

The developers really came up with some interesting and entertaining gestures for a football game, but Madden may have been the wrong game for them. The overall complexity of the game will immediately turn off the more casual players who were attracted by the control scheme. The hardcore Madden players will most likely prefer one of the more traditional console versions because of precision issues with the gestures. The cool mini-games and tried-and-true Madden feature set make up for the shortcomings a bit, though.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6.5 8 7 7 9 7
Graphics
6.5

For the most part they look good. They are on par with a late GameCube game. Technical issues like clipping and tearing hurt the score though.

Sound
8

Ignoring the fact that John Madden is incredibly annoying, the overall quality of the voice work and sound effects is great. The soundtrack has a good mix of popular music and it can be customized to the player's likes and dislikes.

Control
7

Gestures really add to the experience in a lot of ways, but the lack of precision can be frustrating. They aren't perfect for a Madden game but would be a dream in a more arcade-oriented football title.

Gameplay
7

Football fanatics will thoroughly enjoy the wealth of options and features in the franchise mode. Multiplayer games will be fun for everyone else.

Lastability
9

Franchise mode allows players to play and modify a franchise over several years of time. There is so much to do that obsessive fans can tweak and play with a team for days and days.

Final
7

The gesture-based controls take Madden 07 in an interesting new direction. Unfortunately, this direction may be better suited for a different franchise.

Summary

Pros
  • Entertaining multiplayer mini-games
  • Gesture controls add to the fun
  • Years and years worth of polished features
Cons
  • Complexity may turn off casual players
  • Game crashes and other technical issues
  • Gesture imprecision may turn off competitive players
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

SeaBassDecember 30, 2006

Ok, I completely disagree, except on the graphics part. First of all, if you`re reviewing a game like MADDEN and the meat of the review focuses on MINI GAMES, then you`re an idiot. The controls work perfectly, maybe you`re just really bad at the game. I also disagree on how you refer to the depth of game as a low point just because football know-nothings will be confused. This is Madden you`re talking about. 5-year-old Jimmy wont buy this game if he doesnt know squat about football! Fans of football will be more than happy with this game,so noobs, stay away from it if you`re gonna whine about it.

I disagree. EA Canada had stated all along they wanted this game to be more accessible than Madden had been in the past.

KnowsNothingDecember 31, 2006

I didn't even read the review but I'm going to respond to the first reply:

Quote

First of all, if you`re reviewing a game like MADDEN and the meat of the review focuses on MINI GAMES, then you`re an idiot.

If you think the franchise mode of Madden has changed since its conception you are an idiot. I KNOW what Madden is about, what I want to know is if this game gives me anything extra.

Quote

The controls work perfectly, maybe you`re just really bad at the game.

*sniff*

Quote

I also disagree on how you refer to the depth of game as a low point just because football know-nothings will be confused. This is Madden you`re talking about. 5-year-old Jimmy wont buy this game if he doesnt know squat about football! Fans of football will be more than happy with this game,so noobs, stay away from it if you`re gonna whine about it.

I just KNEW this post would end with some elitist bullshit. Madden is the ONLY FOOTBALL GAME OUT THERE. EA bought EXCLUSIVE rights to use NFL teams, players, stadiums, logos, shirts, shoes, tattoos, nipple-piercings, etc. If little Jimmy likes football, he's going to want to play a football videogame where he can play as his home team. Seeing as how only EA can provide that, they should at least make it accessible to ALL players, not just hardcore sports nuts. They don't need to dumb it down so much that destroys the game, but they definitely shouldn't alienate their own audience by making it overly complicated. I'm not a huge football nut, but every once in a while I enjoy playing a football videogame (I usually buy one per generation). I want that experience to be accessible and engaging, not complicated and frustrating, especially since gesture-based controls need to be as transparent as possible. I don't appreciate you coming in here and telling me that just because I'm not a seasoned football game pro that I shouldn't buy this game, especially since I don't really have a choice. It's Madden or bust.

Plus, if EA only caters to the hardcore crowd, how do they ever expect to expand their audience? If noobs need to stay away from the game, they'll never get any new players, and eventually their market will fizzle out. It's not only bad game design, but bad business.

CalibanDecember 31, 2006

I have never played any american football game before, and granted I have some really basic knowledge of this sport (thanks E21), but I still picked up this game.
I haven't played much of it anymore because I've been busy with other games, but for the limited time I have played it I had fun.
I went through the tutorials, I could see that there is some complexity in the gameplay mechanics but it is not forced upon you, it is there for the seasoned Wii Madden player/buyer, so you should only use the more complex moves if you are confortable with the basic and simple moves that anyone can learn.
As for picking team plays and whatnot I leave it to Madden (Z button for madden advice), sometimes I understand what play was indicated for me to use and sometimes I'm just like "WTF?".
The only thing I can see of complaint is the lack of any online gameplay functionality.

KnowsNothingDecember 31, 2006

I just got back form playing this game at a new years party and it's pretty fun, much more fun than regular Madden at least. I actually think it's pretty accessible, too face-icon-small-tongue.gif Mastering the game would take a lot of effort, but for a casual player like me I don't need to know all the moves. I actually found the running game to be much easier than in previous Madden games, and passing is a ton of fun. Defense is expectedly lame, but the addition of throwing your arms up to jump makes defense in this version much more fun than in previous installments. The 2-on-2 mode was surprisingly fun, although controlling the receiver didn't seem to work too well. I'd imagine it'd be a blast with four people, I only played one-on-one. Also, while the gestures worked most of the time, they occasionally failed, and the menu system really does need some serious work.

I didn't get to play much, but from what I did play I think I'd give around a 7.5 ot 8. I might go pick this up, but I'm probably going to wait until 2008 just because it'll probably be MUCH better. Online aint no thang for me since I'm not able to compete with everyone else anyway face-icon-small-tongue.gif

UltimatePartyBearJanuary 09, 2007

I played this a lot on vacation last week, so I might as well add my thoughts. First off, a correction:

Quote

Every four downs (regardless of first downs or touchdowns) the possession changes. This means it's possible to score up to four touchdowns in a row before the other team even gets the ball. Scores often reach the 100-point mark.

You can change this in the same menu where you set the Mississippi count and whether players on the same team swap positions. It's a major balance problem otherwise, since when I played it (we always had four players), one team could get a touchdown on nearly every play, while my team could usually get one within four plays. This minigame definitely hinges on skill at covering a receiver, since the real challenge isn't in scoring, but in preventing scoring.

There's another minigame based on kicking in which players take turns going for field goals while the rest wave their controllers to cause wind. It's neat, but it'll turn your arms into goo.

We also played a lot of YAC Attack (that's Yards After Catch, the other minigame Pale mentioned) and after several games of that I wanted to try playing a regular game. I can watch football, though I rarely choose to, so I was glad someone who actually cared about the game was there to pick plays. I could never be interested enough to bother with that mess. Offense was simple enough after playing the minigames for so long, but defense didn't even make sense to me. You can hold down Z to get a clue as to what you're supposed to do, but my teammates started getting annoyed at me for doing it because it zooms the camera out. Pretty soon I was just letting go of the controller while on defense and letting the AI play my part for me.

As for the controls, I can't say whether they're a better way to play football. I can say that they're a more fun way to play. I wouldn't have bothered with the game at all if I hadn't been curious, and I wouldn't have played it more than once if it hadn't been fun. That fun just doesn't extend very far into the meat of the game unless you know something about the sport. This game's worth a rental for nearly anyone, but I wouldn't buy it.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJanuary 10, 2007

I'm not a very big Madden fan, personally. The only NFL games I ever used to play were the Blitz titles (F You EA for buying those rights). Whether Madden is on the Wii or Madden is on the PS3 it's still Madden, and I still don't like it. I don't want a simulation, or an as close to life as possible football game, I just want something I can play and have fun with. Not being a huge football nut definitely impacts my enjoyment of the game because I don't know what the best play to pick is at any given time. Blitz was always simpler for me and it was pure fun while playing. Hopefully Midway will continue the Blitz series on the Wii and implement some of those fancy Wii controls.

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Madden NFL 07 Box Art

Genre Sports
Developer Electronic Arts
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Madden NFL 07
Release Nov 19, 2006
PublisherElectronic Arts
RatingEveryone
eu: Madden NFL 07
Release Dec 08, 2006
PublisherElectronic Arts
Rating3+
aus: Madden NFL 07
Release Dec 07, 2006
PublisherElectronic Arts

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